Space Elevator are The Duchess on lead vocals and David Young guitars. They’re completed by the rhythm section of Brian Greene on drums and Chas Maguire on bass. Persona Non Grata is the band’s third full-length album, and it is a surprisingly impressive showing.
Space Elevator – Persona Non Grata (On Stage Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Kahmel Farahani
With the early origins of the band playing together in the West End production of We Will Rock You, it’s easy to see how and where the influence of Queen has rubbed off on the four-piece. From the opening Spanish guitar flourishes on the title track to piano and melodies in Cheerful Frank, Space Elevator has clearly studied the master’s work very well.
Duchess Of This Town is a very compelling mix of upbeat riffing and catchy, layered choruses. The Space Elevator has an unexpected AOR flavour mixed with English pomp and glam. It’s most evident on the driving radio rock of Passive Aggression.
Recalling the airy beauty of the song’s namesake, Stevie Nick’s Smile is a polished driving song of a rocker that really showcases The Duchess’ powerful vocal range. The full children’s chorus at the end of the song is almost too much, but Space Elevator can be forgiven their taste for the extravagant when the essential bare bones of the song are this solid.
First Girl On The Moon is the type of lush piano ballad that could have escaped from the final act of any successful musical, while Ritchie (See You Later Baby) is a rather excellent track that sounds like Pat Benatar crossed with ’80s ZZ Top. With its funky bass and guitar opening, Love You Better is a change of pace. A smooth, melodic track that even leans into disco in the chorus. It’s a lot of fun.
Persona Non Grata ends with the mid-tempo number Reverie And Souvenirs. With a nod to the piano line of John Lennon’s classic Isolation, the song sounds like Kate Bush singing a rock song that builds in intensity before a triumphant chorus and guitar solo.
The band’s previous album, Space Elevator II, reached the top 30 in the UK rock chart and indie top 20. With Persona Non Grata, Space Elevator have crafted their own take on a range of classic and familiar sounds and done it with style all their own.